Well, I liked Patricks route, and since I too wanted a 50 mile ride I opted for the same path of pain that Patrick had showed last Friday. I knew Pch well (hahaha) but haven't been into riding since they cut that turn for Newport coast Drive. It is a long grinding grade, that appears to go steeper than 8 % at least at times. I could be soft and wrong. It has been a long time since I had climbed that long at that pitch. But it was awesome !! Thanks Patrick.
If I remember correctly you hit this quad busting, calve splitting little wall about 20-22 miles in, so your warmed up physically maybe just not mentally.
Saturday a.m. @ 6 a.m. was projected launch time. The clouds were thick and black and thunder had been cracking everywhere. For 15 minutes I had talked myself down to a 25 mile loop, just knowing i was going to face some water out there.
By 6:20 I had managed to stuff down a protein bar and fill 2 water bottles, while loading a sleeveless tri jersey with a few shot blocks and 2 gu's.
Screw it, I was all in for 50, let's do this thing. You don't get faster and stronger by watching it on t.v. and typing about it.
So off I went watching the weather roll in and out and heading south right into the lions den. I felt really good and was just making smooth circles, never coming up out of aero for more than seconds at a time, only to cover lights etc..
It was humid and the weather was pretty intense, it made it kind of fun to fool myself I would outrun the storm. They kept saying late morning and I knew even with the climb I would only be out there for 2.5 hours give or take.
So smooth and enjoyable, and refueling at 15 miles out getting ready for extra energy that was going to be burned rapidly.
Made the turn and started the climb with a smile.
That didn't last long, that smile turned to open mouth, then grimace, then WTF, then determination, then wondering were the hell this thing ended etc..
I really do love to climb, even being a big guy a can climb usually with the better of them ( not the best). In the saddle deep to the back of the seat clawing smooth, up and out of the saddle stretching the quads, back down again. Anything to stay steady and smooth, that's key. I got to see a few people come down it, but I never seen anyone behind.
Finally crested, and I was elated to be there. I was also pretty stoked I hadn't cracked on a true wall test. The down hill coming out of that thing going back through San Joaquin toll was awesome. Literally miles of downhill hitting speeds well over 45 mph. I like speed !!
Started one more small climb back out which at this point felt like butter. And thought I would refuel for the 25 plus mile ride back in. Only to find I had drooped a double shot GU, and only had two little blocks left and about 3/4 bottle of water.
Damn, I got struck by the road fuel gremlin !!
Well whatever, it was dark now and I was going to take on rain any minute so I say suck it up and get back to PCH you should have a tailwind.
Sure enough 4 miles later I'm turning onto PCH and it opens up with big drops. It was kind of refreshing and it was kind of distracting but I did have that tailwind I was hoping for.
Now it's about 8:00 a.m. or so and I'm looking to find a couple of people that want to work and take advantage of this tailwind.
I found one guy about 3 miles later full leopard skin riding kit ?? WTF and sporting a fixie. So I hum by him and he jumps on. I'm like o.k. lets see how this works out I'm not biased of who I do pulls with as long as there not sketchy and unsafe.
leopard boy would go on to suck a wheel for another 3 miles. I finally gave him a little look back like, hey I'm 35 miles deep into this thing, you want to help out or are you just comfortable back there.
He did take about a 30 second pull up there and then just rolled out. There was a bridge crossing coming with a slight climb up and over,so I figured I was just going to hammer and see if he holds on.
BYE, BYE ! I finally got hooked up with a small 12 man group about 15 miles left, DAMN all roadies. I love em, I consider myself one also, but there a bit weird about full tri bikes. I really hope to be able to find good used one after the first of the year so I can participate without scowls of some :-).
They were moving good, and I was feeling really good still so I moved up front to see if they would latch on or let the tri geek go on is own.
I kept it smooth and steady and focused on 26 mph, not wavering or surging. I looked back after about a mile to see all single file holding on and hammering.
It felt awesome, It had been a long time since I was a lead out rider and it felt even better that they were on board.
So there I stayed, AND THEY LET ME TOO, for probably another couple of miles. And I was o.k. with it. Finally I cracked and dropped back, all but 4 riders commented on the pull. I thought that was a win. I just tucked in and held on for another few miles before making my turn and switching gears to a cool down pace.
Rain was never really an issue for more than 15 minutes.
The ride was great, my longest ride since the comeback.
The hill was a great challenge, mentally as well as physically.
And my strength and speed were pretty good for current weight.
THANKS PATRICK ! will have to do this together.